The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

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The Hurlers (Stone Circle) — Links

Archaeo-astronomy Steps out from Shadows of the Past

The Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation (ICG) wound up the Royal Astronomical Society National Astronomy Meeting yesterday (26 June 2014) in Portsmouth, England. The meeting was held jointly at Guildhall and the University of Portsmouth Park and King Henry Buildings, and was sponsored by the RAS, STFC, SEPnet and Winton Capital. Of interest to archaeologists and researchers of prehistoric monuments was a discussion of -

"…a developing field of research that merges astronomical techniques with the study of ancient man-made features and the surrounding landscapes… From the ‘Crystal Pathway’ that links stone circles on Cornwall’s Bodmin Moor to star-aligned megaliths in central Portugal, archaeo-astronomers are finding evidence that Neolithic and Bronze Age people were acute observers of the Sun, as well as the Moon and stars, and that they embedded astronomical references within their local landscapes."

More here -

Trippet Stones (Stone Circle) — News

The Trippet Stones and an unrecorded piece of Cornish rock art?

Roy Goutte writes today -

"After wandering around the Trippet stone circle for a few minutes we came across two smaller stones that on first impression had that look that suggests that one part was the remaining stump of an upright, and the other, a broken section off it! In this instance however, on closer inspection, they were both found to be just lying on the surface or embedded just beneath, but neither seriously earth-fast! Where they came from I don’t know but the likelihood is that they are nothing to do with the circle at all and ‘just stones’ placed there at some stage.

"However, on looking more closely at them, we noticed that one, the more secure of the two, had what appeared to be a form of horizontal and vertical crisscross carving on its stepped top."

More here -


2014 Solstice events update

1) The final phase (placing the capstone) in the restoration of the Giant’s Quoit in Cornwall will take place on Saturday, 21 June (the summer solstice). Details here -

2) “Burial chambers dating back to the third millennium BC will be the setting for a series of events to celebrate the Summer Solstice as part of a project led by Cadw and the Arts Council of Wales.

“The project ‘Horizons: Old and New’ will centre around Barclodiad-y-Gawres, one of the most significant Neolithic passage tombs in the British Isles and the impressive chambered tomb, Bryn Celli Ddu. The project will culminate on the weekend of the Summer Solstice (Saturday, June 21 and Sunday, June 22) with a series of events including a dawn celebration at Bryn Celli Ddu, hosted by the Anglesey Druid Order (around 4.30am on June 21).” Details here -

3) The Heritage Trust’s Outreach Event will also take place on the 21 June. This year it will be held in Bartlow, Cambridgeshire. Details here -

Wiltshire — Links

Celebrating our Heritage

World Heritage Day, and a film by Director Grant Wakefield in Devizes on Saturday, 19 April 2014.

Stonehenge (Circle henge) — Links

Harvard University Library

A digitised copy of William Stukeley’s 1740 book, Stonehenge, a temple restor’d to the British Druids.

Avebury (Circle henge) — Links

The Heritage Trust

On the way to Stonehenge at the end of last year two of our members stopped off briefly at Avebury. There was only time for a quick walk over to the Cove where they took some photos. It was about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Bright, low sunlight raked across the stones from the west. Later, when they looked at their photos, there was something on one of the Cove stones that they hadn’t noticed before.

Stonehenge (Circle henge) — News

The new Stonehenge Visitor Centre: First impressions…

Rain clouds gathered as Trust members arrived at the entrance to the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre yesterday. After decades of wrangling, and millions of pounds spent trying to decide what the Centre should be, what it should look like and where it should be sited, the big day had at last arrived – the first day that the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre opened its doors to the public.

More here -

Stannon (Stone Circle) — Links

The Heritage Trust

Revisiting the Past. A guest feature by Roy Goutté.

"Standing on the edge of open moorland to the south of the Stannon china clay works, Stannon circle is easily accessed by the road that leads to the clay works from Harpur’s Downs to the west. Two other stone circles lie close by: Louden is some 800m to the south-east, while Fernacre is 2km away, due east of Stannon and south of the Roughtor summit. Stannon appears to have much in common with these other two circles which are all very large by Cornish standards and all are surprisingly made up of a large number of small upright stones. Stannon has around 70 stones laid out in an irregular ring but originally there may have been as many as 82+. Fernacre also has a large number of stones in its make-up, Louden fewer, yet the three circles are the largest in Cornwall and could have been amongst the first to be built possibly from the late Neolithic where many of the other smaller circles are regarded to be more likely to have been early Bronze-Age, although a lack of dating evidence in Cornish circles is a problem. All three are irregular in shape and may have been laid out by eye rather than using a central peg and rope to mark out an accurate circle."

Avebury (Circle henge) — News

Avebury’s Barn Gallery receives grant of £75,000 for new roof

The lovely 17th century thresher barn, at the heart of Avebury, is also a museum housing a selection of Alexander Keiller’s finds, along with interactive displays and activities which bring the history and landscape of the area to life. The Barn Gallery roof however now needs re-thatching and this has been made possible thanks to a grant of £75,000 to the National Trust.

Wiltshire — News

Wiltshire’s heritage landscape under threat from massive solar farm

"OPPOSITION is mounting to a proposal to create what is believed to be the country’s largest photovoltaic solar farm in a protected landscape area. Natural England and English Heritage are both throwing their hats into the ring, as Swindon Council closes its seven-week consultation on the proposal for 50,000 ground mounted PV arrays at the former [Royal Air Force base] at Wroughton. The site will produce 41 MW of electricity on 200 acres – an area larger than the village of Chiseldon, or the size of more than 100 football pitches."

More here -

The Hurlers (Stone Circle) — News

The Hurlers: Mapping the Sun

Visit South East Cornwall has announced details for its, The Hurlers: Mapping the Sun event from the 16-23 September 2013 -

"For the first time in nearly 80 years we have the chance to carry out archaeological work on the Hurlers Stone Circle at Minions on Bodmin Moor.
As well as the actual dig there will be plenty of events taking place that the public can get involved in.

"16th September
Astronomy workshop 2 hour
With Roseland Observatory
Mapping the Sun, Archaeological Field Trip – Minions area - 2 x 2 hour
field trips- am and pm Jacky Nowakowski open to all. Minions
landscape – Hurlers, Rillaton, Barrow, Stowes Pound etc."

Details and full itinerary here -

Stripple Stones (Circle henge) — Links

The Heritage Trust

The Stripple Stones: Out of sight, out of mind

With just two more stone circles to visit on Bodmin’s moors (Leaze would be the last one) I set out on a beautiful Friday morning to search out the Stripple Stones on Hawks Tor Downs. This one was of special interest to me because it is a stone circle 47 yards in diameter set within a henge some 58 yards in diameter and the only such one in Cornwall, so I was really looking forward to that moment when you cast your eyes on a new circle for the first time, especially one so special.

Bratton Castle & Westbury White Horse (Hillfort) — News

View of Westbury White Horse under threat from bypass

Plans for, “…a three-lane bypass that would run within half a mile of the 175ft horse, a 35-acre business park and 550 new homes on Green Belt land.”

More here -

Trippet Stones (Stone Circle) — Links

The Heritage Trust

Cornwall’s Historic Trippet Stones: Under siege by cattle…

On the 5th of July 2013 this was the astonishing scene filmed at 2pm when, as the video shows, cattle were purposely driven across Manor Common causing them, on the whole, to enter and pass through the circle thus creating a situation where a Scheduled Monument was seriously put in danger.

Trethevy Quoit (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — News

Is time running out for Trethevy Quoit?

Is time running out for Trethevy Quoit and other such unprotected Scheduled Monuments? A new video by Roy Goutté on the disruption (and potential damage) caused by horses/ponies and vehicles to the ground immediately surrounding Trethevy Quoit in Cornwall. The video shows startling and dramatic new evidence of that recent damage.

Video here -

Trethevy Quoit put at risk

Breaking news.

"Without a care in the world it would seem, horses and ponies had been allowed to run free in the field without making any attempt whatsoever to protect the monument. Not even the simplest of electrified animal fencing had been installed which was simply inviting disaster. Due to our overly wet winter in Cornwall, and the horses galloping around like mad things, the ground had become so churned up that the grass in places had been replaced by mud and was no longer visible! Naturally the English Heritage Officer was as equally appalled as I was and immediately took notes and photographs to report back with.

"Today (the 16th February) I made a return visit and was even more horrified. The horses had either been removed or out being ridden for a few hours, but the field area around the quoit was much, much worse than it had been before with huge tractor tyre tracks around it and hoof prints encroaching up to and onto the low remaining banked cairn surrounding the base of the quoit. It was in danger of becoming unstable if this was to continue as the side orthostats/slabs of the tomb rely on the banked cairn being there to keep their base in place! The consequences of this banking becoming dislodged or destroyed didn’t bear thinking about!"

Full article and photographs by Roy Goutté of the ground damage around the monument here -

The Ridgeway (Ancient Trackway) — News

A Ridgeway Journey: an exhibition by landscape artist Anna Dillon

"These exhibitions represent one person’s ambition to capture the spirit of this beautiful, quintessentially English countryside in a series of 24 paintings inspired by the topography of that most ancient of tracks, The Ridgeway, steeped in history, fought over, threatened by population, housing, traffic, erosion, climate and agriculture; ever changing."

Details here -

The Rollright Stones (Stone Circle) — News

Earliest depiction of the Rollright Stones found?

Writing in The Art Newspaper today Emily Sharpe reports that -

"The cleaning of an Elizabethan tapestry map has revealed what may be the earliest depiction of the Rollright Stones, a series of Neolithic and Bronze Age megaliths in the English Midlands, says Maggie Wood, the keeper of social history at Warwickshire Museum. What appears to be a small stone circle is now visible in the lower right-hand corner of the Sheldon Tapestry Map of Warwickshire. Other details, including tiny cottages nestled among the trees, are also now visible. The textile was cleaned and conserved in 2011 in preparation for its inclusion in the British Museum’s exhibition “Shakespeare: Staging the World” (until 25 November)."

Full article here - .

Cornwall — Links

The Cornwall Heritage Trust

The new Cornwall Heritage Trust website is now up and running -

"Cornwall Heritage Trust was founded in 1985 to help preserve important sites in Cornwall and to protect and promote the Duchy’s rich heritage. We own or manage some of the most iconic and important historic places in Cornwall."

Stonehenge and its Environs — News

Amesbury Museum set to open this weekend

Writing in The Salisbury Journal yesterday Morwenna Blake reports that -

"A NEW museum in Amesbury will be opening its doors this weekend with an exhibition about the town during the Mesolithic era. Amesbury, 3,000 years before Stonehenge will be the first exhibition to be held at the town council’s museum at the Melor Hall, which it bought for the purpose last month. Town mayor Andy Rhind-Tutt, who has launched a project to pull the community together under the banner of Amesbury 2012, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to complete on the purchase of the Melor Hall and put on this first exhibition for Amesbury.

"Over the Easter weekend there will be presentations at the hall each day, with visiting archaeologists including Professor Tim Darvill from Bournemouth University and Julian Richards of the BBC’s Meet the Ancestor."

Full article here -

Wiltshire Heritage Museum awarded £370,000 for new Prehistoric Galleries

“The Wiltshire Heritage Museum has been awarded £370,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to support plans to create a new gallery focusing on their outstanding Bronze Age archaeological collections. This will tell the story of the people who built and used the world renowned monuments of Stonehenge and Avebury. The new Prehistoric Galleries will provide an opportunity to display for the first time in generations the unique gold and amber finds from Wiltshire that date back to the Bronze Age, over 4,000 years ago. This was a time of shaman and priests, learning and culture and contacts across Europe. The Museum will be able to build on its existing learning and outreach programme, and inspire local people and visitors to become engaged and informed about the prehistoric landscapes of Wiltshire.

“The story to be told at the Museum forms part of an integrated approach to the interpretation of Stonehenge. The Stonehenge Museums Partnership links the Museum with new galleries being developed at the Stonehenge Visitor Centre by English Heritage and new galleries being planned at the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum. English Heritage is supporting the project with a major grant to the Museum. Wiltshire Council have also helped behind the scenes.”

Further information at See also a lunchtime talk about the Project by David Dawson, Director, Wiltshire Heritage Museum on Thursday, 12 April 2012 at
All over the world, every day, heritage sites, artefacts, skills and traditions are being damaged or lost through war, neglect, development, vandalism, theft or natural disasters.

The Heritage Trust aims to focus on some of these issues, as well as highlighting many of the success stories in the fields of archaeology, conservation and historical research.

If you have concerns for our heritage, or just a story to tell about it, please let us know by leaving a comment on our website or contacting us at -

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